Monday, July 18, 2005

Morning copy 7/18/2005

Iraq and terror

A Saudi Arabian government study and an Israeli think tank's study essentially agree. Both studied foreign fighters in Iraq, and found that most had no terrorist leanings until the United States invaded the country. LINK.

Muqtada al Sadr interviewed by BBC. USA Today LINK.

"The occupation in itself is a problem," al-Sadr said in the interview. "Iraq not being independent is the problem. And the other problems stem from that — from sectarianism to civil war, the entire American presence causes this."

He said he would refuse any political role while the "occupation" was present and would not take part in the writing of the new Iraqi constitution.

According to Newsnight, al-Sadr, who still has his own militia, the Mahdi army, made clear that he was keeping open the possibility of a return to armed resistance.

BBC News' link to the al Sadr interview. BBC News LINK.

A violent weekend in Iraq has resulted in calls for militias to protect the Shiite majority. Christian Science Monitor LINK.

Shiite parliamentarian Khudayr al-Khuzai called on the government Sunday to "bring back popular militias" to protect vulnerable Shiite communities. "The plans of the interior and defense ministries to impose security in Iraq have failed to stop the terrorists," he told the National Assembly.

British troops may begin leaving Iraq within a year, says Defense Secretary John Reid. Reid also denies imperialist ambitions because of this plan to leave. AP story, LINK.

San Francisco Chronicle's story on the drain the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been on the U.S. Economy. SF Gate LINK.

Governors in a conference held in Iowa voice concern over National Guard recruiting and deployment. AP story, LINK.

A prominent think tank has raised the volume on the Iraq-London bombing connection. Guardian LINK.

In the most politically sensitive finding, Chatham House, which used to be known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, concludes there is "no doubt" the invasion of Iraq has "given a boost to the al-Qaida network" in "propaganda, recruitment and fundraising", while providing an ideal targeting and training area for terrorists. "Riding pillion with a powerful ally has proved costly in terms of British and US military lives, Iraqi lives, military expenditure and the damage caused to the counter-terrorism campaign."

Soldiers are re-enlisting at substantial rates. Experts cite bonuses and purpose in combating terrorism. USA Today LINK.


Complex situation for Israel, facing Palestinian militants and the removal of 9,000 Israeli settlers from Gaza. CS Monitor LINK.

Palestinian President Abbas has pledged to stop Hamas attacks, after numerous rockets were launched this weekend. al Jazeera LINK.

Hamas says it wishes to still operate under the truce. BBC News LINK.

Israel has placed a number of armored formations on the Gaza border. NY Times LINK.

More links...

Karl Rove and other prominent administration aides were focused on Joseph Wilson as a potential obstacle to the war in Iraq. LA Times LINK.

From the LA Times story:

A source directly familiar with information provided to prosecutors said Rove's interest was so strong that it prompted questions in the White House. When asked at one point why he was pursuing the diplomat so aggressively, Rove reportedly responded: "He's a Democrat." Rove then cited Wilson's campaign donations, which leaned toward Democrats, the person familiar with the case said.

Matt Cooper's account in the upcoming Time Magazine.

Two Republican leaders in a tiff over global warming. Washington Post LINK.

Can you believe that?

Arnold Schwarzenegger hit hard in Sunday's LA Times LINK. Op-Ed:

The ludicrous defense mounted by the governor's office simply demeaned Schwarzenegger. His spokesman called the furor over the deal "much ado about nothing" and claimed the people of California ought to be grateful their governor was being underwritten by the private sector. When he ran for governor, Schwarzenegger boasted that his great wealth made him able to decline a salary and ignore special interests. The implication was that Schwarzenegger wouldn't take the job's $175,000 salary because he already had a lot of money, not that he would pass on it because he could get a lot more by moonlighting for another employer.

Chicago Tribune human interest story on the many thousands who lost well paying jobs in 2001 and have yet to reclaim a prominent position. Tribune LINK.

Restructuring the diplomatic relationship with China, managing the rise of the new super power. LA Times LINK.


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